The Who’s Pete Townshend Shares An Open Letter For Tina Turner

Following the passing of Tina Turner, the music industry has been flooded with tributes honoring the singer. The latest to offer his condolences is Pete Townshend of the Who. In a recent post on the band’s official Instagram account, Townshend shared a photo of Turner and expressed his admiration for her while reflecting on their friendship in his open letter.

Acknowledging Turner’s long battle with illness and her contributions to R&B music, Townshend wrote:

“Sad to hear we have lost Tina Turner. She had been ill for a long time and struggling to stay in touch with old friends. She will have some peace now. An astonishing performer, and astounding singer, she was also an R&B groundbreaker. We don’t want to say too much about Ike Turner – her abusive husband – but her early records with him were simply out of this world.”

He also briefly referenced Turner’s abusive relationship with her ex-husband, Ike Turner, saying:

“She always took flight when she worked with him, leaving him like a fifth wheel, chipping away at his basic riffs. When she was finally free of him, her work ascended to new, even higher heights. It didn’t seem possible. If you ever had the privilege of seeing Tina perform live, you will know how utterly scary she could be. She was an immense presence.”

Reflecting further on his admiration for Turner and their joint effort, the guitarist continued:

“A female Little Richard. She seemed like a giant: shaking, sexual, physical, and stunningly beautiful. In the flesh, she was fragile, vulnerable, and a truly sweet and empathetic person. She was, of course, my Acid Queen in the ‘Tommy’ movie, and it is often my job to sing that song with the Who, so she always comes into my mind. It isn’t easy to deal with.

The song is about abuse at the hands of an evil woman. How she turned that song on its head! All the anger of her years as a victim exploded into fire and bluster and a magnificent and crazy cameo role that will always stay with me. She has been in my mind for the last ten years; I kept meaning to track her down and see how she was. I truly thought she would live forever. Pete Townshend.”

Under his letter, Roger Daltrey also shared a brief message, saying:

“What a singer! What a performer! What a life! A true original artist and simply the best.”

Tina Turner’s connection with the Who extended beyond Townshend’s open letter. She played a role in the film adaptation of their rock opera ‘Tommy,’ portraying the Acid Queen and lending her powerful voice to the song that bears the character’s name. Turner’s performance of ‘Acid Queen’ subsequently became the title of her 1975 album.

Photo Credit: The Who – Instagram